The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is forecasting that a significant decline in new home sales occurred last month. However, like much of the other September housing data that has been released so far, it appears that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are behind much of the downturn.
According to MBA's Builder Applications Survey (BAS), mortgage applications for the purchase of newly constructed homes were down 7.5 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis in September when compared to September 2016. MBA says the sales, estimated at 42,000 new homes, was a decrease of 19.2 percent from the 52,000 homes sold the previous month.
"Applications for new home purchases were down year over year in large part due the impacts of hurricane activity," said Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics. "In particular monthly applications fell by 37 percent in Florida and 11 percent in Texas, which account for a large share of the applications in the survey."
On a seasonally adjusted basis, MBA estimates new single-family home sales were at an annual rate of 571,000 units. This is a decrease of 12.8 percent from the August rate of 655,000 units.
By product type, 72.3 percent of loan applications were for conventional loans and 13.9 percent for FHA loans. VA loans had a 12.7 percent share and RHS/USDA loans 1.0 percent. The average loan size of new homes decreased from $334,940 in August to $334,722 in September.
MBA's Builder Applications Survey tracks application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of home builders across the country. Utilizing this data, as well as data from other sources, MBA can provide an early estimate of new home sales volumes at the national, state, and metro level. This data also provides information regarding the types of loans used by new home buyers.
Official new home sales estimates are conducted by the Census Bureau on a monthly basis. In that data, new home sales are recorded at contract signing, which is typically coincident with the mortgage application. The Census Bureau's report on September's new home sales is scheduled for an October 25 release.